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Bell's Best Brown | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

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Bell's Best BrownBell's Best Brown

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States

Style: English Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
A smooth, toasty brown ale with hints of caramel and cocoa, the malt body has the depth to stand up to cool weather, but does not come across as heavy. This balancing act is aided by the generous use of American hops.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-10-2002

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Reviews: 877 | Ratings: 2,954
Photo of botham
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a new sam adams glass. pours a caramel brown color with amber highlights and two fingers of tan head that dissipates within a minute or two after a hard pour. moderate lacings.

aroma is malty, with a distinct caramel character, with an earthy base and a lightly roasted character. a nutty character is light in the background, with a hint of alcohol. nicely proportioned.

taste is of caramel malts with a hint of roasted malts and a nutty base. no alcohol present, with a a mild earthy quality in the background.

mouthfeel is medium bodied with a smooth and creamy texture. finishes clean with a bit of residual roasted malt.

drinkability is good. this is a solid brown ale, easy going and smooth on the palate. a great offering from Bell's. cheers!

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Photo of PhageLab
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint glass.

A - Gorgeous deep plum coloration with a nice medium sized head of froth. Retention and lacing were both appealing.

S - Sweet caramel malts and cherries make the nose on this one, and I must admit, I was surprised at how potent the aroma was. Makes the mouth water.

T - Hearty toasted malt body with hints of roasted nuts. A slight bitterness comes through and gives this brew an impressive balance. Oddly refreshing for how malty it is.

M - Light to medium body, mild carbonation, dry finish.

D - What an excellent brew! I could seriously have one of these everyday, but I wish the abv was a bit lower, for this could be an awesome session brew. Definite reco here.

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Photo of slyke
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bell's Best Brown Ale pours a pleasing brown color with a little lighter tone around the edges. The head is slightly off-white, maintains a cap throughout the beer and laces nicely.

Smell is roasty and malty with a soft citrus note. Taste pleasantly continues the roasted malty quality. A bit of hoppy citrus in the center of the taste and a nice gentle bitterness in the end.

Mouthfeel is medium-full with an expected bit of "weight" on the tongue. This beer is very drinkable. Try it when you find it.

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Photo of montageman
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

Bell's never ceases to amaze me. This is the first chance I've had to try this particular beer and, as is the case most of the time, Bell's does it right and very well. Pours a deep, dark brown. Smells sweet and malty and tastes the same with a touch of chocolate for good measure. This is one of those beers I could drink all night without a problem. Good stuff. Recommended.

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Photo of Greggy
4.16/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- nice redish color with great yeast sediment and 2-finger head.

S- malty toasted grains, spice, touch of cinnamon.

T- Thicker creamy viscosity, nice pumpkin-esque malt backbone. The hops are mainly on the finish which is just a bit dry. Also, after some deep reanalysis, I detect a bit of banana.

M- Low carb works well with style

D- Good brown ale. Nothing overly complex. Seems like it would be a good ease into winter.

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Photo of boogles
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep red with perfect carbonation, more sediment than I anticipated. The smell was interesting--some vanilla and flowery perfume in addition to the expected maltiness, etc. The taste is delicious at a moderate chill--I don't think I'd like this one overchilled--and I could drink this all night. Just had one tonight, though. Very nice.

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Photo of jackorain
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark amber brown, 3/4 inch tan head that hung around for a while and left very good lacing.

Smells of caramel malt, yeasty goodness, mollases and a little nutty.

Taste begins with caramel malt which is followed by some toffe and hazelnut notes.

Medium body with a fizzy carbonation.

Oeverall a nice drinkable Brown

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Photo of donteatpoop
3.69/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a cloudy dark brown with a light reddish glow. Not much head, but what is there is ivory.

Smells of toasted malts, a little coffee-like. Very inviting.

Has a bit of an initial bite to it, fills the mouth with the taste of the toasted malts that were present in the scent.

Carbonation level might be a little high, but not enough to detract from the impact the beer makes on the palate. Goes down relatively smoothly, leaves a slightly dry aftertaste.

I could drink a few of these in a sitting. I don't know that I would actively seek this brew out, but this is certainly not a bad beer.

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Photo of NDZonie
3.28/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a glass with a 2 finger head. Dark brown in color with a very fragrant smell. You can really taste the high malt content. The mouthfeel is what is a disappointment to me. It doesn't really have a lot of depth for flavor. The after taste remains on your tongue for a while and can be quite bitter.

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Photo of neenerzig
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into my pint glass. Theis beer is a somewhat cloudy, somewhat clear amber brown color with some deep red highlights when held tot he light. The fluffy head is a good inch thick when poured. Settles to a nice thick surface coating and eventually to a nice thick white ring lining the inside of my glass. Has a nice sweet malty and slightly toasted aroma with hints of maple and brown and perhaps a bit of spice and nuttiness as well. Sweet, roasty and primarily malty taste with the aforementioned brown sugar and maple/caramel characteristics followed by a definite hop bitterness. good balance of flavor here. Has a full bodied, crisp and frothy mouthfeel with moderate to heavy carbonation. Pretty easy to drink. A unique offering for this style of beer and quite good too. The winning!


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Photo of CrazyMacHarris99
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a murky dark brown with a reddish tint to it. There was a one finger off white head that dissipated to a thin ring with some slight lacing. The smell is mostly malt with a little caramel and sweetness. The taste is strong for a brown. There is mostly malt with a bitter kick in the end which is carried through by the carbonation. The mouthfeel is creamy but not too thick which coupled with the smooth flavor and great carbonation make this one a great warm session ale.

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Photo of jdubjacket
2.43/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Got as an extra in a trade with limesmut.

I must say that of all the Bell's brews I've had, this is by far the biggest disappointment.

Pours a light brown with pretty much no head and minimal lacing. Smell was almost non-existent. Couldn't pick anything out of the nose. Taste was very disappointing. Very watered down with no real flavor. Nothing really jumped out at me here unfortunately. Very watered down mouthfeel. Drinkability is average since this beer is pretty unspectacular.

Very disappointed with this beer, especially since it's from Bell's.

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Photo of Neehan
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a very malty beer that has an interesting character that is more like a marzen or a winter warmer than a brown ale. Dry finish and light mouthfeel with just enough carbonation to give a slight bite at the end. Not great, but not bad. A bit disappointing coming from Bell's, but who can complain with their other fantastic releases?

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Photo of Slynger
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer really looks like somethin' else. It's sort of a deep, cloudy, tarnished copper with amber and butterscotch highlights. A fairly creamy dirty white cap leaves some slippery lacing.

The nose is nice and cooly sweet dark fruits and caramel. Lightly toasted aromas mix with a nuttiness and spicy woodsy hops.

Medium bodied and chewy with large bubbled creaminess. Sweet caramel malts are noticed at first, with a light bitterness that lingers throughout the journey. Fruity apple and plum overtones blend well with the light spiciness of earthy woodsy hops.

I like most of Bell's offerings a lot but this one really caught me off guard. It is a great brown and should be recognized among the top few of the style. It is quite unique, incredibly drinkable, and thankfully I picked up more than one bottle as I definitely did not grasp all that there was to experience in this brew. Bell's Best Brown will in fact hold that title in my book until I come across a real rival.

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Photo of BeerSox
3.3/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into nonic.

Pretty much a typical brown, except when held up to the light, which gives it a reddish glow. Slightly hazy and little bit of yeast is suspended in the beer. A one finger tan head slowly settles to a thin cap. Spotty lacing along the glass.

The aroma is smooth and creamy with a touch of raisin and brown sugar. A touch of the alcohol makes it in.

Burnt caramel sets off the bready malts. A little bit of sharp hop flavor comes in at the end. Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation. The finish is a mix of the lingering hops and grainy malts.

This one seemed to have some of its body missing, and some of the complexity. I tend to enjoy brown ales that have a little more of a roasty characteristic. This one seemed a little watery.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle served right out of the fridge and poured into a pint glass

A - Poured a very nice and pretty clear hazelnut brown with just the slightest bit of a reddish tint to it around the edges. A very nice amount of carbonation was evident in the streams of bubbles that were chaining up from the bottom throughout the session. A very nice three finger high head of off white colored lace formed on the top on the initial pour and then faded back down to just a thin layer across the top after a few moments. The nice thin layer stayed with it throughout the session and gave off very nice residual side glass lace. Overall very nice and a good classic brown ale look to it.

S - The aroma was very easy to pick up, which was nice as sometimes it is rather light and it can take a minute to pick it out. The first thing I noticed was the nice malt bill attached to this one. A nice mix of cereal grains and bready malts that gave it a very nice base to work off of. As it warmed up I detected some nice light grass like hop notes in there as well some hints of fruit, banana to be more specific that were coming through and giving it a little more balance. The aroma overall was pretty classic, maybe with a little tweak of hoppiness to it, but a good representation of the style in general.

T - The flavor was classic, just a good all around brown ale. Started out with lots of malts, this was completely to be expected. Cereal grains, bready and earthy tones dominating, but then fading under increasing pressure from caramel like sugary notes that seemed to really bring out the best in this one. Deep flavor profile which surprised me to be honest. A nice long dry finish capped it off very nicely and provided that long dry bitter taste that just really is a sign of Bell's in particular.

M - A very nice light to medium bodied ale, this was pretty darn good I have to admit. There was a very nice carbonation profile, bubbles keeping it lively throughout the session and never really letting it get too dull or watery. Very strong finish and a really nice feel overall with a delicate smoothness balanced against a tight crisp profile.

D - Very nice here as I could easily make this an everyday session beer. Light enough in flavor and profile to be easily drinkable, but at the same time the flavors were very well pronounced and made it much better then just another brown ale. Low ABV and great carbonation wee just the icing on the cake.

Overall this was definitely a quality brown ale. I would not say it was the best I have ever had, but it was certainly above normal for sure. I would love to try this on tap, as I really feel it would bring out the best in its character when poured fresh. Definitely a high quality regular rotation offering from Bells here and something I would really like to try again.

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Photo of BradLikesBrew
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottling code printed clearly.

a: Dark and cloudy mahogany body. The head won't go away and leaves patches of lace.

s: Toffee, molasses, and some light nuttiness.

t: Similar to the aroma. Caramel/toffee, brown sugar/molasses, a nice nutty character and some sweet fruitiness too. A light flavor, but it is complex and enjoyable. Not much in the way of hops, but that's typical for the style.

m: Lighter body, medium carbonation.

d: A very tasty brown ale. Great example of what a brown ale should be. Nothing extravagant, just some solid nutty toasted flavors and one easy drinking beer.

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Photo of callmemickey
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark chestnut brown... thin tan head

S: Nutty toasted malts...

T: Following the smell, toasted malts are paramount with a nutty character... some hops round out the back end of the flavor

M: Kind of thin for a darker beer... Moderate carbonation is pleasant

D: Easy to drink, not bad over all, I probably wouldn't drink two in a row as the depth isn't quite there

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Photo of genog
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a brown color {hmm} very light, with a great amount of fizzy off white head. It goes away quickly, but does leave light traces of lacing, and slight bubbles on top of the body. Smell is very sweet with malt and caramel coming through. Taste is smooth and sweet with malt, and some cocao coming through. Mouth feel is very smooth.

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Photo of DukeofAle
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a very well made ale but just does not have enough charactor to make it stand out. Pours a medium brown with moderate head and fair to middling retention, some lace. Taste is smooth and easy to drink. More malty than hoppy - but very mild. Somewhat thin.

No real faults, but not a stand out in any way.

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Photo of mnstorm99
2.91/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 1 | overall: 2.5

Light brown pour, pretty disappointing, with an off white head that sticks around.
Aroma is a nice spicy hops with a good bready, roasted malt to it.
Taste it like burnt toast, the bready malts don't mix real well with the spicy hops. But I was able to get some carmel, coffe notes in there.
Mouthfeel is very thin for a brown and overly carbonated, this is my first real big disappointment from the folks at Bells.

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Photo of BoitSansSoif
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Rich nut brown w/a very light head.

S-Nuts, toasted malts, and hints of toffee.

T-Nutty palate and full-flavored w/toasted malt. The finish reveals some light hops. Not terribly interesting, but very good.

M-I found this a little more watery than what I was expecting, but it's still decent stuff. With the alcohol level, this is dangerously easy to overindulge on. Carbonation is just right, and on the low-to-moderate side.

D-Smooth and easy to drink, with a perfect texture and airiness if you plan on putting back more than a couple.

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Photo of Proteus93
3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A bit more of a murky amber than brown, moderate tan head topping it all off.

S: Caramel aromas, a bit of a citrus hops balance in there. Some curious dark fruit aromas seem to be in there that don't seem to fit the style, but the aroma is nice, nonetheless!

T: A tad harsh on the tip of the tongue, but it smooths out excellently with a toasted malt, oily nut, sweet sugar, and mild hops bitterness. A tasty brew.

M: Medium body, a lively carbonation that's not overdone.

D: I'd drink a couple of these in a sitting, but the ABV is pushing on getting a little high, so it might keep it a bit on the more easy-does-it side of things.

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Photo of ndekke39
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presented in a 12 oz. brown bottle from batch number 8222, packaged on November 12, 2007. Decanted into a pint glass. Pours a hazy reddish-brown with a thin white head. Good retention with a ring of foam around the edges.

Aroma has a sharp edge to it: nuts, toast, earthy.

Taste is the same: nuts, good malty background. Nice bitterness in the finish: coffee and hops. Travels well.

Nice, consistent carbonation. Good body to the beer.

This is a fine Brown Ale. Nicely balanced. Great session beer.

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Photo of HardTarget
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle Inspection: 5.8% abv.

Aroma: Nice malty sweetness with a bit of hop leaf earthiness with a toast aspect working as well.

Appearance: Deep brown amber with clarity and a soapy half finger head of tan that leaves a curtain of lace.

Flavor: Toasted malt with some toffee and nutty flavors, classic brown ale flavors. Hop level is upper English, lower American range with both citric and earthy floral notes. A mild yeast character comes out as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Prickly carbonation doesn't get fizzy, medium body with a slick texture.

Overall Impression: A solid, easy drinking brown ale. A fair session beer and one that a non beer geek (but not a solid BMC drinker) would appreciate.

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Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.84 out of 5 based on 2,954 ratings.
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